Almost everyone with a garden in the Midwest will eventually go out to that garden one day and return into their kitchen with a recycled grocery bag (or three) full of tomatoes. At this point, you either have to pull out all the canning gear and get to work for the rest of the day or you need to make a big batch of sauce. It all depends on how much time – and tomatoes- you have on your hands, I suppose.
Last week, we did both. We canned on a Tuesday night until midnight -when we could can no more- and then on Wednesday I made a sauce out of the tomatoes sill residing on my kitchen counter and filling my crisper bin in the fridge. Tomatoes are a hurry-up-and-wait then do it all again kind of love affair.
I had about 12 pounds of tomatoes when I made this sauce but you can make this sauce with whatever you have. Just adjust your cooking pot size according. I filled mine to the brim but the sauce cooks down.
I also added one small can of tomato paste and one 15 oz can of tomato sauce because it makes for a thicker sauce, closer to a traditional spaghetti sauce. Totally up to the cooks discretion though. If you’re making a smaller batch, I’d skip the can of tomato sauce and just use the tomato paste.
12-ish pounds fresh garden tomatoes (or a fridge drawer full. Or plastic bag full. Whatever you got that will fit in the pot)
1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 8 ounce can tomato paste
1 TBS minced garlic
2TBS minced fresh parsley
1TBS minced fresh basil
Wash tomatoes, parsley and basil. Core tomatoes, cutting off and discarding any cracked, rotten or brown spots, and quarter before throwing into cooking pot. Add minced parsley, basil and garlic. Feel free to adjust amounts if you like more or less of something. Short of burning it, I don’t think you CAN screw up this sauce. But please don’t take this as a challenge.
I don’t bother removing seeds or skins from tomatoes. I cook everything on medium-high heat at a nice simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. The sauce will get frothy and tomatoes will fall apart. As it cooks, I remove some skins with a fork as they rise to the surface while I’m stirring. Once the tomatoes are all soft and the sauce is done, I use an immersion blender for just 30 secondary or so. Just to get the sauce to come together and annihilate all the skins. I mostly do this because my little kids are picky and getting nutrients into them involves a bit of extra effort/sneakiness.
For the record, my kids are WAY more excited/willing try or eat foods that they had some involved and investment in. Our kids love planting, picking food from our garden, prepping and washing produce and being part of the cooking process. It always helps them be more willing to try new foods.
This sauce can be used immediately on noodles, rice, zucchini or butternut squash noodles or even pizza. It will still be thinner than a traditional spaghetti sauce because it doesn’t have additives and oils and fillers. This sauce can also stand alone as a tomato sauce in stews, chili’s or other sauces. We keep a container in the fridge to eat for up to 5 days and we immediately freeze the rest once it cools. We put some in small containers to pull out for meals/sauces. We also put some in one-ounce silicone ice cube trays, which we store in freezer bags once they are frozen solid. That way we can pull out 5 cubes (perfect for a pizza crust) or 2 cubes (perfect for a bowl of noodles) whenever we need them.
Got tomatoes? Make some sauce.
Got questions? Give me a holler.
I just realized that I never got a picture of the final product. So here’s another of my cute kids…
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